At The Earth's Core
At long last, some other software houses are taking an interest in the BBC Micro! This new release from Bubble Bus Software has all the ingredients of a great game.
The plot is very simple: Blob (your character) must rebuild the planet's core and save the universe! As well as pieces of core, there are many other objects littering the maze. Most objects mentioned in the accompanying A to Z are self explanatory but I have no idea what a 'Flexible Thingydoo' is, or for that matter, what you do with one when you've found it!
Movement around the planet is with the usual up/down left/right controls, although up does not always work. Fortunately, suitable transport is provided - it's a lot less bovver to hovver! If wandering around on foot sounds too much like hard work, you can always take the nearest teleport (15 in all) to jump elsewhere in the maze.
The ever-present meanies are always on hard to slow you down, although a few carefully-placed shots with your trusty zap-ray can do wonders.
At first, it's difficult to know what you're supposed to do, but of course, as it's an arcade adventure, that's the idea. Once you've found the planet's core at least you'll know what you're looking for! With over 500 different screens, there is plenty to explore. The planet is worth mapping - in fact, it's almost essential once you get into the game.
The graphics have a Spectrum look - not surprising as the game was converted from the original on that machine. Sprites are fast and smooth, using a Mode 5 screen with six colours. The sound is good if a little loud, with provision for turning it off.
Even though the theme is not particularly original, Starquake is fun to play. It's varied and big enough to keep you engrossed. The asking price of £9.95 may be a little high, but I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exploring/zapping combination game.